In 2013, 'The Sun Trip' was held. Some 35 solar e-bike and e-trike adventurers went from France to Kazakhstan, a 7,300 kilometer (4,500 mile) one-way Sun Trip. Other Sun Tours are possible. Click on to enlarge.
So let the spirit of adventure, exploration, and innovation roll on.
Before attempting a multi-day Sun Tour, do short ones that begin and end on the same day. Do this where you are, but if you happen to be in Tucson, join SolTech for a 66 mile tour de Tucson with a loop through Saguaro National Park. This will be a prelude for Sun Tour Mt. Lemmon, so if doing that tour, come a bit early and tour Tucson.
Sun Tours aim for 50 miles per day average. While this one is longer, the elevation change is only about 1400 feet, so average slope is about 0.4% up and down, so tour is mostly flat. But there be mountains out there, so to average 50 miles/day means going further on the flats. Going up mountains will be slower going and decents must be controlled to be safe, so average speed in mountains will be less than on the flats. See a Google Map view of the route.
Report: Sun Tour Saguaro Sept. 12, 2015
This annual Sun Tour is a short one, perfect for testing humans and technology. Starts in Tucson. Will be a 140 mile (230 km) tour of Mt. Lemmon which raises 6,600 feet (2,000 meters) above Tucson upon which Lance Armstrong once trained and up which the Mt. Lemmon Marathon is run. The trip begins with a ride (38 mi, 60 km total) across Tucson to Saguaro National Park for a tour of it, then to the base of Mt. Lemmon. Then the next 26 miles (42 km) is up hill all the way (a steady 4% grade) to the top and will take two days. A dirt road descends the backside of the mountain to the San Pedro River, then on to Tanque Verde Pools. The next day, it's back to the starting point, a mere six day outing.
Google Map views: Day 1 (41 miles), Day 2 (17 miles), Day 3 (11 miles), Day 4 (29 miles unpaved), Day 5 (24 miles unpaved), Day 6 (25 miles). A strong climbing e-cycle, perhaps with a very fit human onboard, could climb Mt. Lemmon in a day, but as touring is possible with less power than imaginable, and Sun Tours are not races, and Mt. Lemmon is lovely and campable with tempting side trips for the hyper active, we'll take two days up. While the fourth day is mostly downhill, it is following a rough dirt road, so speed will have to be kept down. The first and last days will be of moderate length so the average mileage is just 29 miles/day.
Starts at Pyramid Lake, NV. Stay at Burning Man 9 days at the Alternative Energy Zone village, return via a different route to the place of starting. About a 210 mile (340 km) round trip. A Sun Tour on the short side. Buning Man ticket required; can be hard to get, so get one ASAP.
Be there, or don't be weird.
The trip could begin in Kingman, AZ and go mostly downhill to Lake Mead, and on to Las Vegas. Then on to Death Valley, across the Sierras via the Kern River, take a side trip to the Sequoias, then through Yosemite, past Lake Tahoe, before heading for Pyramid Lake, then Burning Man. From Kingman it would be about a 1K mile (1600 km) outing that will become a 2K mile (3200 km) round trip tour of the fabulous and sunny American West lasting through September. Details to be worked out, but tickets to Burning Man are required and ticket sales begin in January.
On the way back, tour Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon..... This Sun Tour, including 8 days at Burning Man, will take 7 to 8 weeks averaging 50 miles (80 km) a day while on the road. Very fit humans who tour by human powered bicycle consider 50 miles/day is a reasonable goal. Athletic humans can go 150 to 200 miles a day if pushing their limits, just as some people can run a marathon up Mt. Lemmon in 3-4 hours. That's 'some' as in very, very few. Sun Tours aim to be more inclusive.
The Monarch migration routes converge in southern Texas in mid October and proceed south through Mexico in November and so shall we. The butterflies are solar powered and so shall we be, and we'll travel about the same speed. The Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca opens to the public about November 22, so about then or thereafter is the target arrival time. The leaving point in southern Texas is to be determined, departure time late October or early November. Many sites about the migration: Monarch Butterfly Migration;
Monarch Butterfly Program
We went from Del Rio, TX, November 2014, to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve by car to scout out routes for a Sun Tour. Most of the way is via Hwy 57 which has a wide paved shoulder and most, close to 99%, of the route would be bike friendly. Only the Saltillo bypass was marked No Bicycles, so plan on going through this medium sized town. We went up the Pacific side coming back and appart from a few sections, the route would be decidedly bike unfriendly, with heavy traffic and no shoulder being common. Coming back up the east coast side remains a possibility. The main four-lane highways with the 8 foot shoulders are good for going the distance, and sidetrips of interest on lightly traveled two-way paved roads which have no shoulder can be considered resonably safe and are common. Solar touring in much of Mexico looks as safe or safer than touring in the USA. A Monarch Sun Tour will help focus attention on the plight of our continent's butterfly, which can be thought of as North America's canary. Perhaps the tour should start in Canada and involve tossing milkweek seed bombs along the way. The one site we saw has seen a 500% decline in overwintering Monarchs. Contact: Sun Tour America
This would be the gran tour for 2016 that would include Sun Tour Monarch. This tour would not be for rabbits. If "getting there" is the thing, drive a car or fly and occasionally look out the window. Perhaps no one will be up to a 9,000 mile (15,000 km) tour. Perhaps somebody will be. If not doing something better in 2016, contact: Sun Tour America
Sun Tour America
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.